Did Nicki Minaj's sophomore album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, drop this week? No, it didn't—it actually drops on April 3—but if we didn't know any better, we would've sworn up and down that it dropped this week. With all of the attention that Nicki and the album got, it certainly felt like it did. First, the tracklisting for PFRR dropped last weekend. Then, songs from the album featuring 2 Chainz ("Beez in the Trap") and Chris Brown ("Right By My Side") leaked to the Internet—with the first song sparking a gigantic on-air beef between Funkmaster Flex and DJ Clue who bickered over breaking the record. And, finally, Nicki made her way over to Japan late in the week where she was greeted by hundreds of "real" Harajuku Barbies. It really felt like we should have been bumping PFRR all week and worshipping at the altar of Nicki to celebrate her new album release.
But, alas, we still have about two weeks to wait before we can hear the album in its entirety. No worries, though. From the tracklisting to the new songs to the trip to Japan, this week taught us a lot about what we can expect from Nicki and her new album. So we decided to put together a list of the five things that we learned about PFRR this week just based on the events that went down. We might not have the album in our hands just yet. But that doesn't mean that we don't know what to expect when we finally do.—Chris Yuscavage
What Happened: The tracklisting for Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, featuring song titles like "Come on a Cone" and "Sex in the Lounge" dropped.
What We Learned When It Happened: Nicki really thought outside the box—waaaaaaay outside the box!—when it came time to choose song titles for her new album. "Come on a Cone," Nicki? Really?! But that leads us to believe that there should be some pretty outside the box stuff on the album. We enjoyed "Starships," but it was pretty predictable and poppy. And "Stupid Hoe" was, well, maybe a little too out there. But we think she's gonna find a happy medium on the album judging by the song titles she's chosen.
What Happened: "Beez in the Trap" debuted—and then caused an on-air beef between Funk Flex and DJ Clue that resulted in Flex going on a huge rant against Clue.
What We Learned When It Happened: A song from Nicki really means something right now. Granted, this little feud that took place between Flex and Clue isn't new. And they were probably due for a blowup like the one that took place on the radio and on Twitter. But it all started with a Nicki record. That shows us that people are going to devour every single song on PFRR like they did "Beez in the Trap." Another thing we learned from the 2 Chainz-assisted track: Nicki isn't going to be as happy-go-lucky as she is on "Starships" on every track. Lest you forget, she still knows how to rap—and rap well—when she wants to.
What Happened: Nicki signed a multimillion-dollar deal to become the new face of Pepsi.
What We Learned When It Happened: As if we needed more proof, this reaffirmed that Nicki is a $^%&*@$# superstar! What does that mean for PFRR? Well, it means that we're expecting her to play the part of a superstar. So a lot of the songs on the album are probably going to sound like "Moment 4 Life" and "Super Bass" on steroids. Sure, we still expect the occasional "Beez in the Trap." But, make no mistake about it: This album is going to continue to help Nicki's star shine brighter. If Pepsi believes in her enough to give her a deal like the one they just gave her, you better believe that's what PFRR is going to do.
What Happened: Nicki made an appearance on Madonna's new song "I Don't Give A."
What We Learned When It Happened: Nicki has now appeared on not just one, but two Madonna songs in the last few months. That says something. It says that Madonna thinks she could, one day, get on her level. As a result, we expect PFRR to play that up and make Nicki sound like a big pop superstar. We're sure she learned a thing or two from her studio sessions with Madonna. And we fully expect them to shine through on her album.
What Happened: Nicki met a bunch of "real" Harajuku Barbies during a trip to Japan.
What We Learned When It Happened: We knew Nicki was internationally known. We just didn't know she was that known. Now that we do—and now she's seen it for herself—we think she'll continue to play to that. She can't be making the kinds of songs that she used to make on mixtapes if she wants to appeal to an international audience. So we expect even her hardest street records to have a certain pop sensibility to them. It comes with the territory. If you want to be as big as you are in Asia as you are in North America, you have to relate to all people. And we expect her to do that on PFRR. Now, can April 3rd get here already?!